Are you WELL AWARE about what is going on with your health? Sure I know you are ultra-busy doing your daily to-do list, running from meeting to meeting, dealing with interruptions, putting out fires, eating out a lot at lunch meetings, not always able to make healthy food choices, managing all your emails and social media, working longer hours than is humanly possible, missing out on family time, exhausted, never getting enough sleep, super stressed out – WHEW! How do you keep it all in perspective so you don’t overdo it? Or have you already overdone? And yes – your health and your career could be in jeopardy!
It’s time for some perspective on how you are living your life. It’s time for some AWARENESS so you don’t crash and burn. Here are some tips:
A – Allow time for yourself
Put ME TIME on your calendar every day. If it’s not on the calendar it won’t happen. Before I fill up my week I schedule time for Jazzercise 3-4 times per week and that makes it more likely it will happen. You may have to block out time for breaks and a “lunch hour” – yes, we used to give ourselves an hour for lunch, not 10 minutes to gulp down some fast food! You can also schedule an appointment on your calendar with yourself to do whatever helps you regroup and relax for a bit.
W –Weigh your priorities
What exactly is your goal for the day and how much time do you actually need to accomplish it? Write it down and block out your calendar at the beginning of the day so when all the other distractions occur, you can better manage them by saying NO or delegating or making time on your calendar. There is nothing more stressful than not getting something done you need to do before you go home, and then you either go home late to get it done, or you take it home and work on it in the evening during your family time. Not a great idea.
A – Act “AS IF” your life is manageable
The great thing about your brain is it responds to what you are thinking. That can be bad if you are thinking everything is out of control, you’re frustrated all the time, you constantly use negative language – your body then decides to open the flood gates to release stress hormones into your system and set you up for headaches, gut aches, all kinds of aches. On the other hand if you think life is good, business is manageable, work is joyful, and only positive words come out of your mouth all day, your brain can also be tricked into opening the flood gates to release “feel good” hormones and then you feel good and don’t have stress-related ailments. So if you act “AS IF” all is well, then you will be well.
R – Reconnect with your true self
Who are you really, and are you fully expressing your true self in your work and home life? If you are not being true to yourself, your body isn’t happy and you are setting yourself up for stress once more. If you are managing your own business, you must have started out believing that this is what you were meant to be doing – it was your destiny. If it hasn’t worked out that way, then either it wasn’t your destiny, or you need to do some tweaking so the business reflects positively on you and your efforts and you don’t collapse and burn in the process. Take a day off to do some reflective work on whether this business is right – and HEALTHY – for you.
E – Engage with relaxation
When you are relaxed, there is no room in your body for a busy mind, stress, anxiety or sleeplessness. Your body is calm and at peace and in a free and healthy state. It is what your body wants and your mind can help you achieve this. Do 10 slow deep breaths whenever you feel the stress building to activate your parasympathetic nervous system which is designed to calm you down. You can do this anywhere! Schedule relaxation breaks throughout the day and use techniques like tapping, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization of a calming place, or get some fresh air while taking a relaxing walk outside. Relaxation helps you create true awareness of how you are doing at any given time. And it feels great too!
N – Notice how you feel in the present moment
The present moment is all we have and yet we often don’t stop and do a quick check on how you are doing. You can set the timer on your computer, phone or watch to ping you as a reminder that it’s time to check in with YOURSELF. Then do a quick body scan from head to toe to see if you are experiencing any stress, muscle tension, or pain and do some slow deep breathing to release the angst. Also, note your mental state. Are you feeling negative or positive? If you are feeling negative, say positive things like – today is a great day, I love being here, my colleagues are so fun to be with – or write positive words like, joy, peace, happiness, love. These techniques will shift your mental state from negativity to positivity, and once again, your body will respond with less stress hormones and more relaxation.
E – Enjoy your life
Life – Balance should be your mantra. If stress is the order of the day at work, then relaxation should be the balancing factor when you go home at night. We don’t always make a transition from work to home and often carry the stress home with us. Instead, use the drive-time going home to play enjoyable music or no radio at all. Look for great sights to appreciate like nature, a cool car you admire, kids playing – notice things that bring you joy. Get out of your work clothes when you get home and put on comfy stuff that helps you complete the process of letting go of work. Try not to bring work home if at all possible.
S – Sleep more
Most of us are exhausted! Too much work and not enough rest will do that every time. Getting enough sleep is crucial for what you need the most in your business – cognitive functioning, good decision making, managing stress hormones, preventing weight gain and gut health problems and preventing mistakes. Placing a value on 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep is a challenge, but can be life-threatening if it doesn’t happen. Add sleep to your priority list and schedule your bedtime and wake time so it has a place on your calendar. After all, if it isn’t on the calendar it won’t happen.
S – Stay focused
A major challenge for any executive with multiple responsibilities and interruptions is to stay focused to accomplish what needs to be done. Keep as much structure in your day to stay on track. When distractions occur, use triage thinking to minimize the impact. Is it life-threatening? Deal with it. Can it wait? Schedule it into your calendar at your convenience. Is it not appropriate for your attention? Delegate it.
Hope these tips will create more awareness about how you can take back your life at work and at home.
Be Well on Your Journey.
About the author
Carol Ebert is an experienced and successful wellness practitioner, healthy lifestyle coach and role model for what healthy aging looks like. She is a passionate promoter of people’s potential and inspires people to work creatively through life’s roadblocks to reach their highest goals and realize their dreams using the tools from her book “Too Busy for YOU? How to Prioritize Yourself for a Balanced, Mindful and Happy Life.”